There are many misconceptions out there about what to do to prevent or relieve stomach pain.
We’ve all heard of home remedies for heartburn and bloating. Unfortunately, they don’t always work…
Here is a list of the most common misconceptions:
Will drinking Milk relieve stomach pain?
Not really! There is no specific drink that is recommended to relieve the stomach pain. Milk, hot or cold, will not relieve your symptoms, unfortunately. In addition, the lactose in milk may be the cause of your bloating. It may therefore aggravate your symptoms.
Drinking coffee or a soda helps digestion
If you suffer from acid reflux or bloating, these drinks should be avoided. Coffee (rich in caffeine) and soda promote the production of more gas and may increase acidity in the stomach. The same applies to alcohol and acidic fruit juices (lemon, orange…). Water is the best option if you suffer from stomach pain.
Chewing gum after a meal helps digestion
With gum, you swallow too much air when you chew. It can cause aerophagia due to repetitive air swallowing. The result: more intestinal gas and a bloated feeling. Therefore, it is best to avoid chewing gum if you are prone to gassiness.
Will taking a nap after a big meal help you with digestion?
Lying down increases gastric reflux and can trigger heartburn. Wait about three hours to digest your food before going to bed, after a meal.
You can’t exercise if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease
On the contrary, physical activity is recommended even for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as it helps fight obesity, which exacerbates GERD and its symptoms. If you have abdominal pain, avoid leaning forward during your exercising as it may worsen acid reflux. Also, remember to take adequate breaks between meals and exercise to allow for the food to be digested.
The cause of stomach pain is often in the head
Not necessarily. Although stress can be the cause of this discomfort, it is not the only possible cause. Acid reflux, heartburns, sharp pain, and bloating also have physical causes: a hiatal hernia, ulcers, lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, overeating, etc.
Certain foods can protect your stomach
While it is tempting to think that eating certain foods can protect you from hyperacidity, this is not true. However, there are some real dietary tips you should consider to limit the onset of symptoms. And if the advice isn’t enough, antacids like Tums, which can neutralize stomach acid are available in pharmacies.
Eating standing up is ideal for digestion
Not at all. When you eat while standing or walking, you eat faster and swallow more air, which can lead to acid reflux and gas. Therefore, it is better to sit while eating, and above all, take your time.
A larger meal in the evening will help you fall asleep quickly
No, quite the opposite! Eating too much at night can cause bloating, heartburn, and reflux at bedtime. These inconveniences can prevent you from sleeping. Instead, eat a light meal at dinner.
What can you do to prevent and relieve bloating and symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
To effectively prevent bloating and reflux, find out the main causes of these symptoms! There are lifestyle tips you can apply. If that’s not enough, for quick and effective relief, there are over-the-counter medications available in pharmacies, such as Maalox, Tums, Pepcid, and Nexium that effectively relieve some GERD symptoms. If however, you are unable to get relief even after following the above advice then seeing a doctor becomes a must.
NB: The popular GERD medication ranitidine (Zantac) has been removed from the US Market in April 2020.